Kerala court sentences man to life for rape, murder of 15-yr-old girl

A Kerala court on Wednesday sentenced a man to life for the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl over four years ago in this southern district of the state.

Kottayam Additional District Court (I) judge Sanu S Panicker also sentenced the accused — Ajesh — to 20 years for the offence of penetrative sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, public prosecutor (PP) M N Pushkaran said.

The court had convicted the accused on October 31, based on circumstantial, forensic and scientific evidence, the prosecutor said.

The PP said that the prosecution was not satisfied with the quantum of punishment given to the accused and was considering moving an appeal for enhancement of the sentence to the death penalty.

The prosecutor said that the incident occurred on January 17, 2019, when the man forced the 15-year-old victim to meet him by claiming he had some illicit photographs of her.

He had, thereafter, taken her to his lodgings at his workplace — a hollow brick manufacturing unit — and attempted to have sexual intercourse with her, the PP said.

When the girl resisted, he clamped down on her mouth and nose and she fell unconscious, following which he raped her, the lawyer said.

While he was committing the heinous act, the victim regained consciousness and, fearing she might raise an alarm, he strangled her using a plastic rope, the PP said.

Ajesh then buried the body in a banana plantation behind a hollow brick unit at Areeparambu near Manarcad, he said.

The body was recovered two days after the girl went missing.

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The PP said that Ajesh was married twice and both wives had left him due to his abusive nature and unpleasant sexual tendencies.

The accused had later befriended the victim’s father with the intention of getting close to the 15-year-old girl.

The PP said that the girl, before leaving to meet Ajesh, had told her sister that if anything happened to her, he was the one responsible and this statement was one of the pieces of evidence that led to his conviction.

Police had also found that Ajesh had contacted her over the phone, he said.

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